Late February through March is always an interesting time of year for vintage comic book sales. Major auction season for the year has gotten underway after a bit of a post-Christmas nap, and collectors are starting to look past their taxes and get back to the hunt in earnest. There are always some chart-busting sales during this period, and here’s one example this year: A Detective Comics #33 CGC 8.0 has just sold from Metropolis Comics for a record $150,000. The comic book which has a November 1939 cover date and hit the newsstand at the end of September, shows Batman’s origin for the first time in a story by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Sheldon Moldoff.
There are currently three copies graded CGC 8.0 on the CGC Census, two copies in 9.0, and the sole highest-graded copy at CGC 9.2. None of the higher-graded copies have publicly traded hands in several years. Heritage sold another CGC 8.0 copy in 2015 for $83,650.00, and that rather amazing CGC 9.2 copy sold in 2011 for $194,000 from Metropolis.
So, this is a big jump over the 2015 sale, but Metro’s PR quotes the buyer as saying, “I never tried to barter down to a lower price because, from the time I saw it, I viewed this as a $150K book”, and that’s hard to disagree with. A Detective Comics #27 in comparable grade would likely run 10x that amount today at very minimum, and just last month a Detective Comics #35 CGC 7.5 sold for $119,500, so… actually very easy to call it a $150k book at the moment with those data points.
And for important origins, this one is right up there. Just a few brief panels succinctly capture a transformational tale that has been retold, expanded, and explored countless times in comics and film in the decades since. “Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible… a… a.. A Bat!”
New York City’s Metropolis Collectibles reports the record-shattering sale of a copy of Detective Comics #33 CGC 8.0 for $150,000 USD, a record for the grade. The most recent reported sale of a CGC-certified VF 8.0 sold in May 2015 for $83,650, a nearly 80% gain in just under two years.
“Detective #33 is one of the most important early appearances of Batman, not only because of the odd appearance of a gun on his holster and a smoking gun in hand at the end of the story, but more importantly because this is his first origin being told” stated Metropolis COO, Vincent Zurzolo. The origin details the horrific murder of the young Master Wayne’s parents; this origin has become ingrained in American culture and was later reprinted in Batman #1.
The buyer of this copy is head-over-heels in love with the comic. “I never tried to barter down to a lower price because, from the time I saw it, I viewed this as a $150K book.”